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Results & Commentary: 2012 Boston Marathon

Highlights from the 116th running of the Boston Marathon


The story of the day was the heat. How high would it go? How severe would the consequences be? The organizing B.A.A. enacted every contingency plan possible, including deferred entry for those who had picked up their numbers and then thought better of it; but the increasing mercury still weighed heavily on most people’s minds — not least among those hoping to claim a slice of the $806,000 in prize money that was at stake.

The high temperatures brought a lot of uncertainty to the 2012 race, but it also brought one indisputable fact: that the course record of 2:03:02, the fastest time in history, set by Geoffrey Mutai in 2011, would be safe. There were some who recalled the scarcely conceivable 2:06:32 victory by the late Sammy Wanjiru in stifling heat at the Beijing Olympic Games, thereby contending that a fast Boston time was still feasible. There’s a world of difference between 2:06 and 2:03, however, and the events of Patriots' Day affirmed that caution was always going to be the wisest tactic.

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If experience is indeed the best teacher, Sharon Cherop is an “A” student.

In 2011, when Desiree Davila and Caroline Kilel slung themselves around the corner onto Hereford Street toward the homestretch of the 115th Boston Marathon, Cherop got caught flat-footed because she didn’t realize how close they all were to the finish. The trio combined to produce the closest 1-2-3 women’s finish in Boston Marathon history, with just six seconds separating them. But for Cherop, those six seconds were an eternity.

It was an eternity that wouldn’t last long; Cherop had learned her lesson. If the race again came down to another sprint finish, the student would be prepared to pass the test.

“Last year I didn’t know the course,” said the 28-year-old Kenyan at a press conference days before this year’s race. “I didn’t know there were only 600 meters to go. Now I do."

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B.A.A. Moment 2

1935 John A. Kelley

Born in West Medford, Massachusetts as one of ten children, Kelley ran track and cross-country at Arlington High School in Massachusetts. He did not finish his first Boston Marathon in 1928, but eventually competed in a record 61 Boston Marathons. A legend of the marathon, Kelley won the 1935 and 1945 runnings of the Boston Marathon. He finished in second place at Boston a record seven times. Between 1934 to 1950, he finished in the top five 15 times at Boston, consistently running in the 2:30s. He ran his last full marathon at Boston in 1992 at the age of 84, his 61st start and 58th finish there.